Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World

Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World

by Matthieu Ricard


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316208239
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 06/14/2016
Pages: 864
Sales rank: 188,721
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author, translator, and photographer. He is the author of several books including The Monk and the Philosopher, a dialogue with his father; The Quantum and the Lotus, a dialogue with astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill; and Why Meditate? His books have been translated into over twenty languages. He has lived, studied, and worked in the Himalayan region for over forty years. Four million people have viewed his TED talk on happiness.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

I What Is Altruism?

1 The Nature of Altruism 15

2 Extending Altruism 24

3 What Is Empathy? 39

4 From Empathy to Compassion in a Neuroscience Laboratory 56

5 Love, Supreme Emotion 65

6 The Accomplishment of a Twofold Benefit, Our Own and Others' 76

7 Self-Interested Altruism and Generalized Reciprocity 83

8 Selfless Altruism 89

9 The Banality of Good 94

10 Altruistic Heroism 103

11 Unconditional Altruism 110

12 Beyond Imitations, True Altruism: An Experimental Investigation 120

13 The Philosophical Arguments Against Universal Selfishness 137

II The Emergence of Altruism

14 Altruism in Theories of Evolution 151

15 Maternal Love, Foundation for Extended Altruism? 171

16 The Evolution of Cultures 177

17 Altruistic Behavior Among Animals 183

18 Altruism Among Children 208

19 Prosocial Behavior 225

III Cultivating Altruism

20 Can We Change? 239

21 Training the Mind: What the Cognitive Sciences Have to Say 247

22 How to Cultivate Altruism: Meditations on Altruistic Love, Compassion, Joy, and Impartiality 260

IV Contrary Forces

23 Egocentrism and Crystallization of the Ego 271

24 The Spread of Individualism and Narcissism 281

25 The Champions of Selfishness 299

26 Having Hatred or Compassion for Yourself 314

27 The Shortfall of Empathy 322

28 At the Origin of Violence: Devaluing the Other 339

29 The Natural Repugnance to Kill 374

30 Dehumanizing the Other: Massacres and Genocides 388

31 Has War Always Existed? 412

32 The Decline of Violence 426

33 The Instrumentalization of Animals: A Moral Aberration 455

34 Backfire: Effects of the Meat Industry on Poverty, Environment, and Health 470

35 Institutionalized Selfishness 480

V Building a More Altruistic Society

36 The Virtues of Cooperation 515

37 An Enlightened Education 532

38 Fighting Inequality 552

39 Toward a Caring Economy 563

40 Voluntary, Joyous Simplicity 604

41 Altruism for the Sake of Future Generations 616

42 Sustainable Harmony 657

43 Local Commitment, Global Responsibility 675

Conclusion: Daring Altruism 690

Acknowledgments 695

Karuna-Shechen: Altruism in Action 699

Notes 701

Sources for Figures 833

Select Bibliography 837

What People are Saying About This

Jon Kabat-Zinn

“This remarkable book is an extremely well-documented and elegantly argued plea for altruism, kindness, and compassion in order to address the primarily human-inflicted suffering and sorrow in this world. What is usually unknown or ignored is that altruism is a cultivatable skill, a way of being that can and needs to be chosen to optimize our well-being as both individuals and as a species. If you doubt that, just read this book. Even little snippets will blow your mind and inspire you, as Matthieu puts it, to change yourself and the world.” --Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Coming to Our Senses

Daniel Kahneman

Matthieu Ricard is an extraordinary human being, whose luminous presence and gentle voice have a surprising effect: they compel respect for his benign view of life and make routine cynicism impossible.

—Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and author of Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Goleman

Matthieu Ricard is a genius for our times, a rare combination of scientific brilliance with the heart of a saint.

—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

Jane Goodall

Altruism is just what is needed to bring hope to those depressed by the violence, war, selfishness and corruption that surround us today. Matthieu Ricard provides convincing evidence based on both careful research and personal experience that altruism is an integral part of our nature with the desire to help others not only present in small children, but also in many animals. ALTRUISM addresses how these qualities can be cultivated and enhanced in the individual and how a more altruistic society is not only possible but essential if we care about the future. Matthieu, thank you for writing this book.

—Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, founder of Roots and Shoots, and noted author

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Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jclark211 More than 1 year ago
If I had to select just one book to guide all of humankind on the pathway to a better world, this would be the book. Matthieu Ricard humbly observes and teaches that this transformation is readily attainable through altruistic compassion, a virtue already residing within each of us. We simply have to cultivate it, first within ourselves, then through our relationships, our communities and throughout the world. Much more than just a philosophical treatise, Ricard supports this compassionate vision with persuasive and reliable research in a broad array of subject matter, including but not limited to, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, neuroscience, history and economics. Ricard is not only profound, but his application of altruistic principles to the individual self and to the collective world, is profoundly simple. Potentially, this book is a seed to the creation of a better world. Read this book. Absorb its essence. Apply its principles. And assist in the growth of a kinder, gentler and happier world.